About Me

Be A Better Indie - 4. Create a Singular To-Do List

This is the fourth in a series
10 Ways to Be a Better Independent Developer

When I first went indie I tried to maintain different to-do lists for my personal life and various professional projects. I quickly discovered that this is not how indie life works. Once I went independent, everything mixed together and I didn’t have dedicated work time and dedicated personal time. This meant that having multiple to-do lists was not effective for me; a single to-do list for everything in my life was much more effective because it better aligned with how I actually go through my day.

There are a lot of to-do list applications and paper is still a great option, but I personally love Task Paper. It is as simple to use as paper, but it makes it easy to rearrange items, tag them for better organization, and to eventually check them off and move them to an archive. The tags are extremely valuable to me because it gives me the ability to tag each item with a project just in case I do need to filter my tag list to see only tasks for a specific project.

I keep two sections of my to-do list: “Next” and “Future”. The “Next” section is a loose order of what I intend to do next. “Future” is everything that I want to remember to do but haven’t actually scheduled yet. This gives me the flexibility to work on what I am feeling most productive on, within the constraint of not going to far from the things that really need to be done. I may skip around the "Next" section if I have a strong desire to do a specific task, but I know that I cannot move to the "Future" section until the "Next" tasks are done or if I explicitly decide a "Future" task is more important.

Whatever you do, it is very important to track your tasks as an indie because there are a million things to think about. I strongly recommend that you align your to-do list with the way that you actually work. For me, that is a singular list.